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This Day in Wrestling History (August 31): Happy Birthday Brother Nero!

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this day in wrestling history

48 years ago today in Bloomington, Minnesota, Verne Gagne defeated Mr. X to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the ninth time.

Gagne's ninth reign would be his longest, as he would hold the championship uninterrupted for more than seven years, losing the title to Nick Bockwinkel in November 1975.

33 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Terry Funk calls it a career for the first time.

In his first final match ever, Terry Funk and his father Dory, Jr. defeated Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy. In perhaps a sign of things to come, Terry uttered one word over and over again in an emotional post-match speech: "forever".

Probably intending to mean he'll be remembered forever, he's wrestled for that long since his retirement, returning to the ring just three months later. He's retired and unretired numerous times, and has wrestled as recently as last October at age 71.

29 years ago today, Jerry Lawler defeats Don Bass in a hair versus title match to win the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship for the 50th time.

24 years ago today, WWF aired Summerslam. For card results, check out This Day in Wrestling History from August 29, the day the event took place.

22 years ago today at a WWF Superstars of Wrestling taping in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Davey Boy Smith, aka The British Bulldog, makes his return to the WWF after nearly a two-year absence.

Smith was fired from the WWF in November 1992 after he was busted for receiving HGH shipments from an English pharmacy. This came two months after his He would then have a brief stint in WCW before being released after his involvement in an altercation with a man at a bar who was making sexual advances at his wife.

In Smith’s return bout, airing the weekend of October 8, Smith defeated Ben Jordan.

Also returning to the WWF during the taping was former Wrestlemania main eventer Christopher Pallies, aka King Kong Bundy.

Bundy was last seen in the WWF on television in late 1987 when he defeated WWF Champion Hulk Hogan via countout. During the bout, Bundy accidentally injured the referee (legitimately) with his running avalanche. He was relegated to house show duty for the remainder of his run, which ended in February 1988.

In Bundy’s return bout, he defeated Mitch Bishop in just 84 seconds.

19 years ago today in Yokohama, Japan, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Shinya Hashimoto to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

The win ends Hashimoto’s 489-day reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the longest in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The record still stands to this day.

18 years ago today on Monday Nitro from Miami, Florida, Lex Luger and Sting defeated WCW United States Champion Bret Hart and Hollywood Hogan by countout.

Running unopposed against US Open tennis coverage on the USA Network, TNT posted the show's highest rating ever with a 6.04. Nitro would lose 25% of its audience when RAW returned to its regular slot two weeks later.

14 years ago today in Dover, Delaware, Wifebeater defeated Nick Mondo in a 200 lighttubes/barbed wire/salt match to win the first ever CZW Tournament of Death.

Wifebeater also defeated Nick Gage in a panes of glass match and Necro Butcher in a staplegun falls count anywhere match.

Other participants included John Zandig, Nate Hatred, The Messiah, Nick Mondo, Homeless Jimmy, Toby Klein, and Adam Flash.

6 years ago today, Kaval is announced the winner of NXT Season 2.

With his win, he earned a championship match on PPV. Michael McGillicutty, known today as Curtis Axel, finished 2nd, while Alex Riley finished 3rd.

McGillicutty, real name Joe Hennig, earned a bit of infamy with his elimination promo (dubbed in wrestling lore as “The Genesis of McGillicutty”), yet he’s the only one of the three still around. Riley would be released in May 2016 as part of a massive talent dump. Kaval would be gone just four months later. He did get his PPV championship match, a losing effort for the Intercontinental title at Survivor Series to Dolph Ziggler.

2 years ago today in Reseda, California, Ricochet defeated Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong to win the Pro Wrestling Guerilla Battle of Los Angeles tournament.

1 year ago today, 29-year old Armando Montalvo was shot by Orange County Sherriff’s Police outside the WWE Performance Center.

The report from Orlando’s WFTV:

ORLANDO, Fla. - A man accused of causing problems at the WWE Performance Center in Orange County was shot Monday during a third incident at the facility this month, authorities said.

A friend of the man told Channel 9 Monday night that he and others have long had concerns about the man.

The shooting happened Monday afternoon at the Forsyth Commerce Road facility, officials said.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said 29-year-old Armando Montalvo had a fixation with a female wrestler and had been causing problems at the facility to the point officials there have been hiring off-duty deputies for extra security.

Demings said no deputies were on the WWE campus Monday, but two nearby plain-clothes deputies responded.

According to Demings, Corporal Steve Wahl and Deputy Dave Richardson were involved in the confrontation with Montalvo.

Montalvo told the deputies he was possibly armed with a knife, so the deputies had weapons drawn when they approached him, Demings said. Montalvo then charged one of the deputies, who fired once as he retreated roughly 75 feet, authorities said.

"He's running backyards trying to create distance between he and the ultimately the subject closes within just a few feet and he fires one shot at that time," Demings said.

Montalvo was struck and was taken to a local hospital. His condition has not been released.

WWE Chief Operating Officer Paul Levesque (aka Triple H) issued a statement on the matter via Twitter:

Unfortunately a deranged individual with no WWE affiliation, who had a court order prohibiting him from being on WWE property, was involved in an incident with an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy in the parking lot of the WWE Performance Center.

We defer to the Orange County Sheriff’s department for further comment and information.

Video of the incident was released in November detailing his behavior leading to the shots fired and subsequent arrest. Montalvo was charged with aggravated assault, resisting an officer with violence, and trespassing. Though his family said he suffered from mental illness, in June 2016, Montalvo was deemed competent to stand trial. His pretrial hearing is set for today.

1 year ago today, Thomas Latimer, best known to wrestling fans as Bram, was indefinitely suspended by TNA Wrestling one day after he was arrested on domestic violence and false imprisonment charges. Specifically, Latimer was charged one count each of domestic battery by strangulation and false imprisonment. The statement from TNA:

Bram Arrested In Florida, Suspended Indefinitely

TNA has been advised by the Gulfport, Florida Police Department that Thomas Latimer, known as Bram, has been arrested and charged with two felony counts of domestic battery and false imprisonment. TNA is working to gather facts and obtain additional information related to the arrest.

"The charges against Thomas Latimer are serious, and he is immediately and indefinitely suspended from any future TNA-sanctioned events awaiting the outcome of the case," said TNA Executive Vice President of Television and Talent John Gaburick.

Latimer’s then-wife Ashley Fliehr (aka Charlotte) was not involved in the incident; she was at a WWE event in Daytona Beach, Florida. The incident involved a woman identified to be Latimer’s girlfriend. Latimer posted $5,000 bond the next day and was released from jail. On October 19, the charges were dropped and Latimer was reinstated the same day. Ten days later, Fleihr and Latimer’s divorce was finalized.

1 year ago today, TMZ reports that Zahra Schreiber was released from WWE just two days after old social media postings of hers featuring Nazi symbols surfaced online.

The release comes just a day after Schreiber debuted as Solomon Crowe’s sister at an NXT event in Fort Pierce, Florida. WWE’s statement on the release:

WWE has released Zahra Schreiber due to inappropriate and offensive remarks she made that were recently brought to our attention.

Schreiber was in the news earlier in the year when she was involved in a nude photo scandal with then-WWE Champion Seth Rollins.

Schrieber commented on her release on her Instagram page:

"Let me start this off by saying how grateful I am and how fortunate I feel to have had my time with WWE. It truly was my dream job. Last week WWE made a decision to release me from my contract due to posts I made on social media years ago, long before I was ever employed by them. I understand why that decision was made, but it broke my heart and my spirit. I don’t want my mistakes to reflect on WWE or how incredible they are as a company. The responsibility is my own… Now, I want to take the time to apologize to everyone who was offended by my posts. I am so sorry. I would like to make it very clear.

I am in no way, shape or form an anti-Semite, nor do I condone anti-Semitism. If one were to have looked deeper into my post, one would have noticed that also in the photo was Marlene Dietrich. Marlene was a Polish actress who opposed Nazism and fought for the oppressed during WWII. To me the photos and relics were nothing more than a story. I now see it was insensitive of me and in poor taste, which is why I had attempted to delete them long ago. On an aside, a family member of mine took part in the White Rose Movement (Germans trying to end Nazi domination), which is where my interest in the Holocaust actually stemmed from. Also, documented deeper on my Instagram from years ago are photos of me at Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany, and I noted there how disturbed I was by the entire place.

Unfortunately, social media rarely notices positivity, and can be an evil place where opinion is easily manipulated to fit the circumstance. I take full accountability for the things I did post, but those out there who are creating Twitter exchanges that never happened or have manufactured other conversations that never took place really need to check themselves and realize how much harm they are actually doing.

Everything I’ve worked for and dreamt of is gone. In an instant, I lost it all. But I can’t let this define my life. I know who I am as a person. I’m as human as anyone else. I’ve made mistakes like we all do. I hope those I’ve offended can forgive me. All I can do now is learn and move forward trying to be better every day."

In November 2015, Schreiber resurfaced for Illinois independent Dreamwave Wrestling.

It’s a happy 37th birthday to Mickie Laree James-Aldis, or Mickie James for short.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Mickie’s parents, a landscaper/wastewater treatment worker and a teacher/real estate agent, divorced when she was young. Mickie spent a lot of her younger years on her grandmother’s horse farm and took an interest in equestrian sports. James is a part of a big family; she has a sister, two half-siblings, and three stepbrothers.

A longtime fan of professional wrestling, James at the suggestion of a friend decided to give it a try, enrolling at a wrestling school in Washington, DC. She furthered her training at the ECW Dojo and the Funking Conservatory. She competed and managed for KYDA Pro Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling, and Ring of Honor. Struggling to make ends meet on wrestling alone, she posed nude for a couple of magazines and worked as a waitress.

She came into national prominence in TNA in 2003 (though she did appear once for the company the year prior in a lingerie battle royal) as a member of Raven's Gathering. Less than a month after joining the stable, she became the first (and to this day, only) woman to compete in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.

After two years in WWE developmental outfit Ohio Valley Wrestling, she debut for WWE in October 2005 under her real name, with the gimmick that she was Trish Stratus' biggest fan. The gimmick evolved into her being an obsessed stalker, a la Single White Female. At Wrestlemania 22, she would win the WWE Womens Championship, a championship she would go on to win five times from 2006 to 2010 (only Trish Stratus has more reigns, with seven). In September 2009, she would win the WWE Divas Championship, making her at the time the second woman to hold both women's titles in WWE.

After being released a few weeks after Wrestlemania XXVI, she released her first country music album, Strangers & Angels. Late in the year, she returned to TNA, but it would not be until April 2011 that Mickie won the TNA Knockouts Championship from Madison Rayne. The win made her the first (and to this day, only) woman to hold the three major women's titles in North America. She would go on to win the Knockouts title three times before leaving the company after contract talks stalled in late 2013. Also in 2013, Mickie released a second album, Somebody's Gonna Pay.

After a brief stint as a guest trainer for NXT in late 2013, Mickie announced she was pregnant with her boyfriend Nick Aldis' (best known to TNA fans as Magnus) child. Mickie gave birth to Donovan in September 2014. The couple announced their engagement three months later. Two months after giving birth, Mickie returned to the ring for Queens of Combat, defeating Tessa Blanchard.

Mickie made a surprise return to TNA in early 2015 during the Impact tapings in Glasgow, Scotland and was involved in a storyline with her fiancé Magnus and James Storm. It caused a bit of controversy when Storm shoved Mickie onto a train track. It was a temporary write-off, but she returned to the ring at the end of the month, winning a mixed tag team match with Magnus over Storm and Serena.

James, an avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys, plans to own a far and become an equine trainer when her wrestling career is done; she owns three horses and two dogs. James married Nick Aldis last year on New Year’s Eve. The couple have one boy, soon-to-be two-year old Donovan Patrick Aldis.